Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is largely an ensemble film, covering the exploits of the titular band of Rebel fighters on their mission to steal the plans for the original Death Star. If the trailers are any indication, much of the focus will be on Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso. However, there are a number of other characters that Star Wars fans will be getting to know, too.
One of those characters is Bodhi Rook, played by The Night Of star Riz Ahmed. Rook starts off as a pilot for the Empire but defects to the other side. While that backstory may sound a little too similar to that of John Boyega’s Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there is at least one key difference.
In an interview with EW, Ahmed spoke about Rook’s background and his motivations. That key difference between Rook and Finn? Whereas Finn was a stormtrooper engaging directly in battle for the Empire, Bodhi comes from a more blue collar background:
“Bodhi is a cargo pilot. In our world, Bodhi would be a truck driver. A long-distance truck driver. A character like Bodhi is not born into the life of a soldier. He’s a pilot working for the Empire, doing his job, getting on with it. But when you put ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, it can freak them out. It can inspire deep passions. So I’m gonna defend Bodhi.”
With Rook giving up his career as a long-haul driver to join up with the Rebels, one question is raised: Why does he wear that Imperial sprocket insignia on his sleeve? According to Ahmed, it’s not out of loyalty to the Empire but rather as an important reminder:
“I think it’s to remind you of where you’re coming from, remind you where your debts are. Do you know what I mean? For me personally, every day, looking at that, it reminds you of what you’ve done.”
As any long-haul driver can tell you, life out on the road can be a lonely one. Rook will have to overcome that loner background and work as part of a team if he is going to be a part of the Rebellion. That could be a problem if the other members of his team weren’t in the same boat. However, Ahmed says that for the Rebels he’ll be working with, their diverse backgrounds will be part of their strength:
“The feel of this film is quite rough and ready, and so is the mission and so are the characters, and so is the coming together of the characters. So the idea of people having special ships that they spit-shine and say, ‘Hey, this is my ship called the XYZ,’ that’s not of this world. This world is more about ‘Grab what you can, and let’s roll.’
Everyone in this Star Wars movie has got quite a complex past. They have a lot of baggage and history to it. That’s part of what makes it an interesting, nuanced movie. It’s taking characters with interesting backgrounds, whether it’s warrior monks, or ex-assassins, or long-distance truck drivers, and you’re assembling this pack of misfits.”
Ahmed has proven himself a capable actor with his work on The Night Of, and fans can expect him to bring that same level of skill to the role of Bodhi Rook. With the rest of the Rebel crew being rounded out by the likes of Jones, Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, and Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe, Ahmed’s long-haul driver is at the very least in for some good company.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.